On the wall of my office there is a quote from Romans 12
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
When I put the verse on the wall, I was thinking about it in terms of one of the key purposes of Christian Education – to encourage the renewal of our students’ minds, so that they might be discerning; however, increasingly as we’ve journeyed the pandemic it’s served as a reminder to me to always seek to be discerning and wise as we make decisions (in short, to seek the will of God in all of this).
As a leadership team we know that we are imperfect. We continue to pray for wisdom as we deal day-to-day with masks, vaccinations, and exposures. I would encourage your continued prayer for the school, our students and our families – that how we travel through this would continue to be discerning, wise and ultimately a powerful testament to our shared faith in Jesus.
A Note on Exposures, Clusters and Notices
Island Health defines a school exposure as a day in which someone has attended school, had a positive COVID diagnosis, and been in their period of transmissibility. A cluster occurs when there have been multiple positive COVID diagnoses and transmission is thought to have occurred in the school.
Over the past weeks, we have been contacted on several occasions by Island Health as they have done COVID contract tracing. Having experienced the process, we can attest to its thoroughness. The Health Authorities seek information regarding class compositions, and configurations. Once a positive diagnosis is in place, they ask for the school’s cooperation in connecting with students/staff who may need to self-monitor or isolate. To protect the confidentiality of the impacted individuals, they also provide the school with specific guidelines as to who we can advise (and more particularly who we cannot). In Elementary, this has typically been the classroom grouping where the student with the diagnosis was. In High School this has been a bit more complex and has involved notices going out to multiple classes (due to the nature of High School schedules).
It’s important to note as well that exposures reported on the Island Health website can be related to a single student. For example, if a student with a positive diagnosis was in school during their period of transmissibility, say on October 8 and 9, this would be shown as such. Two days showing, does not necessarily indicate that there have been two different groups or students involved – it may merely indicate that there was someone in the school in their period of transmissibility on those dates.
We can be thankful that even with robust contact tracing, Island Health does not believe that transmission (a cluster) has occurred at school. Our school remains a safe place. The measures we have put in place, continue to be effective. We ask that everyone continue to do their part by doing things like the daily health check prior to entering the school each day.
A Note on Vaccinations
I have heard from a number of parents of fears that with the likelihood of approval of vaccinations for 5-11 year olds, that the Provincial Health Office may order mandatory vaccinations for students. PCS’s window on the process is through the Federation of Independent Schools who have a chair at the provincial discussions around school responses to COVID. Although the task force has discussed vaccinations for staff (and published guidelines for consideration by school authorities), to our knowledge compulsory vaccinations for students have not been discussed at this level and it would seem likely that they would need to be if they were under active consideration. Additionally, the school would continue to provide parents with advance notice of any scheduled vaccination clinics.
As we move forward we continue to be confronted with decisions that challenge us to balance the wide range of opinions in our community. We can assure you, however, that we have always started these conversations with community safety.
We appreciate the grace which you’ve shown as we’ve responded to a changing landscape in a way that seeks the will of God.